Bellbird man David Trew named as ambassador for Saffron Day, raising awareness of organ and tissue donation

GIFT OF LIFE: David Trew points to his tattoo representing his simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplant. The Bellbird resident is an ambassador for Saffron Day, raising awareness of organ donation. Picture: Krystal Sellars
GIFT OF LIFE: David Trew points to his tattoo representing his simultaneous pancreas-kidney (SPK) transplant. The Bellbird resident is an ambassador for Saffron Day, raising awareness of organ donation. Picture: Krystal Sellars

David Trew knows all too well the difference organ donation can make to someone's life.

The Bellbird man had a pancreas and kidney transplant in 2015, and feels better than ever.

Mr Trew shared his story with the Advertiser as part of his role as one of Transplant Australia's ambassadors for Saffron Day, which promotes awareness of organ and tissue donation.

Now 45, Mr Trew was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 18, when he had just started a chef's apprenticeship.

He developed chronic kidney disease, and by the time he was added to the transplant list in 2013, he was on dialysis for 10 hours a day.

"My health was very poor; most days I couldn't get out of bed or would be in hospital on a drip," he said.

"As I was sick most of the time I didn't really have a life."

Mr Trew underwent a simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant (SPK) on July 17, 2015 at Westmead Hospital - and now sports a tattoo in memory of that day.

Five years on, he's able to help his wife run her business, and enjoy hobbies including working on his car and breeding fish.

"It's so cool... I never thought I would live a happy and unrestricted life," he said.

"Even to be able to get out of bed every day... it's the things people take for granted."

Mr Trew will be forever grateful for his organ donor and their family for making the decision to donate.

"I have no words that can explain the feelings for them and their family, who had to make a very hard decision in a very stressful time," he said.

"I wouldn't be here today, so thank you for the second chance."

Mr Trew is proud to be raising awareness about organ donation ahead of Saffron Day this Thursday.

"It's become a passion of mine, to encourage people to donate and to tell their relatives that they want to donate," he said.

"I would like people to be aware of how many lives can be saved by one decision."

Mr Trew is one of 11 ambassadors Transplant Australia has appointed to add their voice to Saffron Day, sharing their experience about the power of organ donation in transforming the life of someone waiting for a transplant.

Observed on October 22, Saffron Day was founded in 2018 in honour of seven-year-old organ donor Deyaan Udani, who tragically passed away on a family holiday two years earlier.

Not long before the trip, Deyaan and his older sister Naisha had learned about organ and tissue donation at school. They told their parents they wanted to be organ donors one day to help save the lives of others.

Transplant Australia CEO, Chris Thomas, said Deyaan's parents, Rupesh and Mili Udani, had done more than enough agreeing to donate their son's organs at the most difficult time of their lives.

"To then commit to honouring Deyaan's memory by establishing Saffron Day and promoting organ donation is really above and beyond anyone's expectations," Mr Thomas said.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to his parents for their decision to share their heart-warming story."

The message of the awareness day is that "a pinch of saffron goes a long way, as does the generous gift of organ donation".

About 1700 Australians are currently waiting for a life-changing transplant.

Organ donors in Australia must register online and discuss their wishes with their family.

Register to become a donor at donatelife.gov.au/saffronday.